During a 2006 visit to China by then Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, Tokyo and Beijing agreed to foster a "mutually beneficial relationship based on common strategic interests." Over time, however, this noble ideal has largely eroded, due to such issues as China's incursions into Japanese territorial waters and its stance over historical matters. But there are other factors at play, too.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who works at the forefront of China-Japan relations, has unnecessarily complicated the ties between the two countries. In short, Wang has fueled anti-Japanese sentiment among the Chinese public and leveraged this disaffection to serve his own interests.
Wang, a former Chinese ambassador to Japan, is well-versed in Japanese affairs. However, because he does not wish to be seen as pro-Japanese, he tends to push excessively in the opposite direction. In short, Wang is a yes-man keen to keep his superiors happy—and he controls China's foreign policy vis-à-vis Japan.